As The Mountain Goats is one of my favourite bands (Hefner is still the favourite band), I of course had to acquire a copy of their new album, The Life Of The World To Come, which was released early this October. Unfortunately, as with the band’s two previous studio albums, I was left unexcited.
A problem with The Life Of The World To Come seems to be that the songs sort of blend into one another, with few melodies or arrangements that really hit you over the head and steal your keys. I’m not sure if there’s a single song on the album I’d call bad, but given the context of the album none of the songs really get to stand out either, except maybe “Psalms 40:2” – the only song on the album which could possibly be characterized as loud and rocking, and with no piano in sight. Doesn’t exactly help that all the songs have their names taken after a bible verse either, further aiding them in their blendage. I’m also a wee bit annoyed that the album supports what I believe is a very wrong stereotype, namely that the piano is a gentle instrument preferably used for slow contemplative songs and not an instrument you can rock out on.
Oh, and another problem with the album is that it uses the glossy kind of digipak cover which easily gets fingerprint stains when you handle it. That’s no good. Fortunately I have a pair of nylon gloves at the ready for whenever I want to handle this or any other albums using glossy digipak.
If you bought your album through Rough Trade, you’d also get a bonus CD containing Life Of The World In Flux, which is a collection of demos recorded for the album. What’s been said about the album pretty much goes for this collection as well, as these slightly rougher and more sparse versions of the songs are still performed in more or less the same manner as the studio versions. It does feature some songs not on the album though – four, in fact – but they’re pretty much more of the same; they’re not bad, but given the context, they’re forgettable. Listening through it for the first time I actually didn’t notice that it featured any song which were not on the album, except for the song “Matthew 11:14-19”.
Leaving you now with a sample song from each of the two CDs, the only two songs I mentioned by name in this entry.